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Irish Flying Fifteen National Championship at the National Yacht Club - Overall

by Cormac Bradley 6 Sep 12:04 BST 2-4 September 2022
Flying Fifteen Championship of Ireland - Peter and Juliette Kennedy receive the Gerry Dunleavy Memorial Cup from NYC Commodore Conor O'Reagan © NYC

After three days of challenging racing and race management, the Flying Fifteen Championship of Ireland concluded on Sunday 4th September, with a well-deserved victory by father and daughter combination Peter and Juliette Kennedy (3920), flying the burgees of Strangford Lough Yacht Club and Royal North of Ireland Yacht Club. Additionally, they took home the Dun Laoghaire fleet-donated Gerry Dunleavy Memorial Trophy for winning the first race of the Nationals.

In second place, representing Killyleagh Yacht Club were Andrew McCleery and Colin Dougan (4037) and shutting the door to the podium for any of the home-based fleet, were Niall and Ronan O'Brien (4092) from the Chonamara Flying Fifteen Fleet.

So why was the Kennedy victory so well deserved? On the Friday we sailed two light wind races and Team Ridgeway sailed by Peter and his daughter won both of them. Now you might say that what's unusual about that? Well, the fact is that the nearest competitor to them after Day 1 was Bryan Willis & John McPeake (4074), counting eleven points with Phil Lawton & Neil O'Hagan (3803) in third on fourteen points.

I think it would be safe to say that many would have believed that as one of the seemingly lighter crews, the Kennedys were well suited to Friday's conditions. Saturday and Sunday would bring stiffer challenges, but the Kennedys took it all in their stride, counting a sixth, a fourth, a fifth and a tenth, their discard, in the subsequent races. These latter four races were sailed in conditions that started light on Saturday and got up to in excess of 20knots with some recordings of gusts in excess of 30knots.

On Sunday, in sunshine conditions we sailed another three races that probably started in the high teens and certainly got above 20knots. Thus, when the heavier crews might have considered they had a physical advantage, this team were able to compete with aplomb and consistency.

On Friday evening, some well known combinations were carrying a big score: a past National Championship winning crew had a 22nd, a well-known combination who have been around the block a few times were carrying a 21st, one successful DBSC crew from 2022 were carrying a 26th, another were carrying a 27th and a 20th and this commentator was carrying a 24th.

Saturday dawned grey and drizzly with no real sign of wind ashore. Maybe the flags were too wet to fly on Saturday morning, but the more likely story was that there wasn't a great deal of wind. Race Officer Eddie Totterdell decided we would go afloat, obviously of the view that if wind arrived he wanted to avail of it immediately. It took over an hour for any tangibly steady wind to arrive! Instead, we could hear reports of less that 5knots radioed in from the weather mark in the drizzly haze. Eventually wind did come in and how!

A first race got under way shortly around 13:30 (ish) when the wind was of the order of 8knots. It continued to build giving a boisterous windward-leeward two-lapper.

Former National Champions, David Gorman & Chris Doorly (4099) duly wrapped up the race with a comfortable win. Behind them the finishing order was the Chonamarans, Niall & Ronan O'Brien (4092), Phil Lawton & Neil O'Hagan (3803), in their debut regatta, Ben Mulligan & Cormac Bradley (4081), followed by the Galvin brothers, Tom & Eamonn (3757). David Mulvin & Ronan Beirne scored an eighth in this one.

The trick on this race was to stay on the right-hand side of the beat and subsequently, the left-hand side of the run. However, the run required a number of gybes to get to the leeward gate and some of those were under fast planing conditions.

The wind continued to build and by now we were sailing in wind strengths in the upper teens and low twenties in terms of knots of wind speed with gusts getting even stronger. This was taking its toll on the fleet. We had one crew member go overboard going down the run. Another Fifteen did a double broach, ended up capsized and then flooded its forward buoyancy tank, resulting in it being towed home partially submerged. A broken spinnaker halyard in another boat seemed minor in comparison.

Unaware that the Race Officer had cancelled all racing, the front end of the fleet comprising the likes of the O'Briens, Lavery & Green (4083), Mathews & Poole (4093), Shane McCarthy with debutant Flying Fifteen crew Damien Bracken (4085), Mulligan & Bradley and Gorman & Doorly continued, oblivious to the decision until they went through the finishing line en route to the leeward gate the second time. Race Officer Eddie Totterdell pointed to his "N over A" as each boat sailed past him. They all went on to the leeward gate and sailed to an upwind finish and silence from the committee boat.

As we made our way back to the harbour, still sailing in these high wind conditions, we were perplexed as to the decision. It wasn't immediately obvious that the fleet was being decimated! Ashore, the explanation was that rescue resources had been stretched to the limit and the decision to fly "N over A" was based on safety. DLH wind readings suggested that gusts of the order of 32 knots had been recorded.

A regatta dinner in the National Yacht Club saw the war stories emerge from the day's proceedings and tired and sore bodies unwound from the efforts of the day. Still leading with a sixth in race 3, Peter and Juliette had the huge score of eight points in the kitty. Phil Lawton & Neil O'Hagan were in second with 10pts, and John Lavery & Alan Green were in third with 26pts.

These were followed by Willis & McPeake (27), Mathews & Poole (30), the Galvins (31), McCleery & Dougan (32), the O'Briens (33), Hammy Baker & Peter Chamberlain (3756) (33) and Gorman & Doorly (37). A revised race schedule for Sunday with three races and a 10:25 start was advised to the fleet.

On Sunday the sun had come back out to play but the wind was still very healthy. XCWeather had suggested southerlies of the order or 11 - 18knots building as the day wore on... and so it was. However, the sunshine made a huge difference!

Race 4 (of the regatta) went to the northern combination of Hammy Baker & Peter Chamberlain, followed by the O'Briens, McCleery & Dougan, the Kennedys, the Galvins, Mulligan & Bradley, Lavery & Green, Neil Colin & Margaret Casey (4028), Peter Lawson & Chris Hannon (3893) and Peter Murphy & Ciara Mulvey (3774). Again, working the right-hand side seemed to pay dividends, certainly from this commentator's perspective.

So, the Kennedys were still secure, managing the conditions and making sure they didn't loose the leading pack. It was an interesting watch as this light(ish) crew managed the growing wind strength.

Race 5 saw the O'Briens win in style! Now it was getting crowded at the top of the leader board. Mulligan & Bradley rounded in a podium place at the first windward mark but lost places on the downwind leg - a new phenomenon for them. However, they stayed inside the top ten, using Bradley's "avoir du pois" to help them go upwind more easily in the breeze.

McCleery & Dougan matched the westerners upward trend by posting a second place with Lavery & Green posting their best result of the regatta in third. Mathews & Poole also kept to the low numbers with a fourth, the Kennedys took fifth, Willis & Mc Peake sixth, Mulligan & Bradley seventh, Baker & Chamberlain eighth, Lawson & Hannon ninth and Tom Murphy & Carel La Roux (4057) tenth.

Race 6 saw the breeze go up another notch. The upwinds were hard work and the downwinds exhilarating! A number of boats pioneered the right-hand side of the beat and looked good until the very end when a few boats, not too many, piled in from the left. Yet again, the westerners were at the front, with Lavery, Mulligan, Mathews, McCleery and Willis and Lee Statham & Andy Paul (4070) in the immediate chasing pack. Up the second beat this leading group dropped Willis as they chased the O'Briens.

Racing was close as the six boats chose slightly different routes to the leeward gate. The O'Briens went left, had a difficult gybe, wrapping the genoa around itself. Ronan ended up "tap-dancing" on the foredeck trying to get it unravelled before going overboard. That dropped them back to sixth, giving the other five boats a late one-place bonus. The finishing order was McCleery & Dougan, Mathews & Poole, Statham & Poole, Lavery & Green, Mulligan & Bradley, the O'Briens, Willis & McPeake, Gorman & Doorly, Lawson & Hannon, the Kennedys.

The trophy for best placed NYC boat at the Nationals is the Jack Roy Memorial Trophy, presented by the Roy Family, and was won by Ian Mathews & Keith Poole.

The Gerry Dunleavy Memorial Cup, presented by the Dun Laoghaire Flying Fifteen Fleet is for the winner of the first race at the Championship of Ireland; this was won by Peter & Juliette Kennedy.

Regatta organiser Keith Poole presided at the prize-giving where due thanks were given to all who had made the regatta possible. Club Commodore Conor O'Regan also spoke welcoming all the visitors and thanking the volunteers and members of the National Yacht Club for their support of the regatta.

Overall Results:

PosDivisionBoat NameNatSail NoHelmCrewClubR1R2R3R4R5R6Pts
1GoldTeam RidgewayIRL3920Peter KennedyJuliette KennedySLYC/RNIYC11645‑1017
2GoldFfastanticIRL4037Andrew McCleeryColin DouganKillyleagh YC‑1641232122
3GoldCheckmateIRL4092Niall O BrienRonan O BrienFF Chonamara14‑17221625
4GoldMike WazowskiIRL4093Ian MathewsKeith PooleNational YC2‑217114226
5GoldphoenixIRL4083John LaveryAlan GreenNational YC5‑111073429
6GoldEnfant De MarieIRL4081Ben MulliganCormac BradleyNational YC12‑24467534
7GoldFer FOX SakeGBR3756Hammy BakerPeter ChamberlainStrangford Lough YC412‑17181338
8GoldN/AIRL3803Phil LawtonNeil O'HaganRoyal St George YC773‑19111139
9GoldSimply goldIRL4074Bryan WillisJohn McPeakeCounty Antrim YC9216‑186740
10SilverFFrig‑ItIRL3893Peter LawsonChris HannonPortaferry SC‑23109139950
11SilverThingamabobIRL3757Tom GalvinEamonn GalvinNational YC10165515‑1951
12GoldFomoIRL4099David GormanChris DoorlyNational YC‑221411614853
13GoldTriggers BrushIRL4070Lee StathamAndy PaulWaterford Harbour SC3‑23181416354
14SilverFlagellaIRL4057Tom MurphyCarel La RouxNational YC11‑26139101255
15SilverFFuzzyIRL4028Neil ColinMargaret CaseyDun Laoghaire Motor YC‑268148131457
16SilverFlyerIRL4008Niall ColemanJustin GeogheganNational YC185‑2015121565
17SilverHeraIRL3774Peter MurphyCiara MulveyNational YC203‑2310181869
18Silverffantastic mr ffoxIRL3938Niall MeagherNicki MatthewsNational YC13619‑20201775
19SilverIgnis caput duoIRL4068David MulvinRonan BeirneNational YC‑2720812191675
20SilverRockaffellasIRL3896Adrian CooperJoe McNamaraNational YC199241724(DNC)93
21BronzeFlyerIRL393Mairtin O FlathartaMike HopkinsFF Chonamara1518‑2623172093
22GoldNoneIRL4085Shane MacCarthyDamian BrackenGreystones SC61511(DNC)DNCDNC96
23SilverRODRIGUEZIRL3955Ken DumpletonJoe HickeyNational YC171315(DNC)DNCDNC109
24BronzeAshIRL3913Joe CoughlanAndrew MarshallNational YC‑282821222123115
25BronzePerfect TenIRL3995Alan BalfePatrick Frison RocheNational YC(DNF)DNC22212222119
26SilverSTIFFLERS MOMIRL3892Stuart HarrisonConor BrennanPortaferry SC819(DNF)DNCDNCDNC123
27BronzeFfastnetIRL3729Robert HilliardDarina PorterNational YC2425282525(DNC)127
28BronzeMAXVIRL3960Mick QuinnMary‑Jane MulliganNational YC2527(DNF)24DNC21129
29BronzeJust Add WaterIRL3835Joe KellyCaglayan SevincerMoville BC(DNF)2229DNC23DNC138
30BronzeThe GruffaloIRL3864Valerie MulvinLynda MulvinNational YC213025(DNC)DNCDNC140
31BronzeAs Good As It GetsIRL3688Caomhan McKernanMaurice CollinsRoyal St George YC292927(DNC)DNCDNC149

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